October 5th, 2010
07:24 PM ET
“Please, Luke. Please, please, please.”
And with that very first line of dialogue, the premiere episode of “Gilmore Girls” aired exactly 10 years ago today. Our heroine, Lorelai Gilmore was - as she often did throughout the series’ seven-year run – begging for coffee.
Although “Gilmore Girls” ended in 2007, it still experiences renaissances on a continuous loop due to daily airings of re-runs on ABC Family and SOAPnet. With DVD and iTunes sales going strong, it’s no wonder there’s so much buzz about a possible “Gilmore Girls” movie and demand among fans for an eighth season.
I've waxed poetic about the brilliance of the "Gilmore Girls" before, so I’ll try to stop gushing so much. But earlier today, I spoke to actress Keiko Agena, who played Rory’s BFF Lane Kim.
On shooting the pilot, Agena recalled “being away from home and so excited and loving the script and just filled with hope that everybody would love it as much as we did. We knew it was good but that doesn’t always mean that everybody’s going to like it and that it will be a successful show."
It turns out they filmed in Toronto, "which was just beautiful and really, actually cold instead of the balmy southern California weather which is how we shot the rest of the episodes," Agena said. "That was the only time we had real cold air, the rest of the time it was just snow machines.”
As for what she’s up to these days, the actress said, “Today I’m actually at NASA. We are filming ‘Transformers 3’ and I get to play Frances McDormand’s assistant so that’s been a lot of fun.” She's also apparently channeling her inner Jim Henson, and is taking puppetry classes at Puppet School and gearing up for a December show. Calling it her “new obsession,” Agena said she’s “crazy in love” with puppetry.
I also had a chance to speak to Aaron Berman, author of the upcoming book “The Gilmore Girls Companion,” which is an unauthorized behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show and features 40 interviews with cast and crew members.
“Lauren Graham was the last one to be cast,” said Berman. (At the time, she was contractually obligated to a series called “MYOB” which wound up not getting picked up.)
According to Berman, a “light day” for the main actors was 14 hours. “Sometimes cast members were on-set for as long as 21 hours, and the crew even longer.” Sleep was so scarce that when crew members had an hour to themselves, they ran to the sets that had beds (Lorelai’s room was a favorite).
Berman also provided some other fantastic details:
● The character of Kirk was inspired by Amy's father, Don Sherman, who used to turn up on “Gimme a Break” (and occasionally “Barney Miller”) because he was friends with the producers. He would play a different character each time.
● Most of the jewelry you see Emily Gilmore wearing is Kelly Bishop's own, in particular the gold necklace she often wears. The actress is allergic to costume jewelry and bought the necklace herself for the role. She's only worn it twice since “Gilmore,” both times in stage plays.
● Though "Gilmore Girls" is known for its fast delivery of dialogue ("Life's Short. Talk Fast" being the strapline for the show), a lot of that speed is a result of the editing. As one of the editors said, "if there was a breath of air between Luke saying 'Tomorrow' and Lauren saying 'I’ll be here,' I would take it out."
● Warner Brothers studios' proximity to Burbank Airport resulted in having to halt the taping of scenes so as not to record the sound of passing planes.
● The motor oil that Gypsy deals with on set (and occasionally gets on her) is steak sauce.
“In the end,” said Berman, "‘Gilmore Girls’ remains beloved the world over today because it addresses the absurdities of life, and the imperfections in our relationships with one another, with humor and an understanding of what it is to be human.
There are stereotypes, certainly - Kirk's cluelessness, Taylor's scheming, Emily's disapproving - but every character is also presented as decidedly human. As Lorelai observes of Kirk, ‘it's all any of us wants - to find a nice person to hang out with 'til we drop dead. Not a lot to ask." Amen.
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